Chelan Earth Day Fair delighted locals and vacationers of the valley with vendors, demonstrations and entertainment with an environmentally friendly theme. The annual event took place on Saturday, April 15, 2017 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Riverwalk Park in downtown Chelan.
The park was filled with booths representing kid’s activities, local nonprofits and government agencies and merchants. Along the picnic shelter, visitors could pick up kettle corn or cotton candy to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Andy Wendell, Director of Customer Service with the Chelan County PUD, and his team were on hand to demonstrate an updated electric meter.
“The technology has improved significantly since meters were put in in the 1960’s,” Wendell stated adding that the new electric meters read levels every hour and report back to the facility. “One of the big benefits is that customer can see their energy consumption every hour instead of once a month. Having this data can help you zero in on how you can improve energy consumption in your home.”
According to Wendell, the new meters will help the PUD operate more efficiently and will report remotely whenever power is lost, allowing the PUD to send technicians out more quickly. “We are able to replace these at no cost to our customers,” Wendell stated.
The North Central Washington Beekeepers Association (NCWBA) set up a booth aimed to educate visitors of the fair on honey bee facts.
“We bring a demonstration hive so people can see up close what bees do and how they react, and they can see the queen,” Al Zalewski said. You hear a lot of people talk about the Africanize bees attacking people. Honey bees don’t attack people.”
Zalewski went on to explain that bees pollinate over 30 percent of all edible produce. In America, almonds are a large crop, and honey bees play a big role in that crop’s success. According to almonds.com, almonds depend on bees and bees depend on almonds. In fact, the link between bees and almonds is so important that the relationships between almond growers and their beekeepers often go back years or even generations.
Zalewski also asked that should residents find a swarm of bees on their property that they would like removed, they can contact the NCWBA as soon as possible to have the bees humanely relocated. Zalewski discourages residents from exterminating the bees.
Kids were treated to the popular craft area set up by longtime Earth Day Fair participant Mark Tesch and Michele Rome. Tesch brought Spike the Wolverine Dragon to the event for kids to help paint and decorate using recycled products.
“I have been helping with the kid’s area for the past 10 years. We provide an opportunity for the kids to be creative and use as many recycled goods as possible with decorating and building the dragon,” Tesch stated. “We believe being earth-friendly can be a fun event, so we want to help kids walk away with that.”
The dragon has been a staple of fairs and festivals in Chelan, making appearances at the Lake Chelan Arts Festival, Harvest Festival and Chelan’s Earth Day Fair throughout the year.
The entertainment stage was packed with a full day of performers ranging from the Kevin Jones Band, the TLC Jazz Band and dancers from Chelan Dance Centre.
“We will be at the Chelan High School PAC on May 20 at 11 a.m. for our performance,” Dance instructor Miss Ashley reminded the audience. The Chelan Dance Centre will present Believe in the Beauty of Your Dreams. Tickets are $15 and the event goes until 5 p.m.
Following the dance performance, the Trashion Show took the stage. The trash themed fashion show is a newer event for the fair, but it has already gained popularity, and audience members filled the seating excited to see the creative show.
Kids modeled fashions made completely from trash that people throw out every day. The goal of the show is to demonstrate to all ages how much trash the modern consumer goes through daily.
This year featured a plastic bag monster made up of nearly one thousand plastic grocery bags. The costume was intended to show how many plastic bags fill landfills every day. Many cities in America have banned the use of plastic grocery bags. According to biologicaldiversity.org, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year and only one percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling. That means that the average family only recycles 15 bags a year; the rest ends up in landfills as litter.
The winners of the Trashion Show took home trophies made of recycled plastic such as a T-rex figurine with a Barbie doll head covered in glitter.
Merchants had booths offering many locally produced goods such as alpaca hair dryer balls which can be used in place of dryer sheets to eliminate waste. Additionally, garden items and starts were available for purchase, just in time for spring planting season.
Down the street from Riverwalk Park, Chelan 7 Fire and Rescue hosted their Safety Fair, maximizing on the crowds from Earth Day Fair. The fair featured bicycle helmet fittings and proper car seat installation tips from Lake Chelan Community Hospital.
The firefighters, volunteers and auxiliary foundation served hot dogs and hamburgers to the community while allowing kids to climb through fire engines. Smokey the Bear also made an appearance with the U.S. Forest Service.
To learn how to get involved with the Chelan Earth Day Fair visit their website. The site also features tips and tricks for conservation and recycling.
(By Jillian Foster)